Who’s culture is it anyway?

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I cannot stop thinking about my Pakistani friends who have been thrown from their homes, come to Thailand looking for hope.

They are not always kind, or gentle in their requests. They are a people desperate, fighting for a new life, and sometimes their manner affronts my well-cared-for sensibilities.

Twenty-nine people living in one house. The children cannot go to school. The parents cannot work. They spend their days waiting. My expectations have no right to be bothered.

They are Christians who left a Muslim country in search of refuge. They came to a Buddhist country, and they wait.

I sit beside a Muslim designer at work, she’s one of the nicest people I know in Thailand. I do not equate her with the violence others have experienced at the hands of Muslims.

We are both outsiders with our faith, confusing our friends and coworkers that we do not leave food at the spirit houses or go to Temple on the weekends.

But we are not outsiders like the unseen refugees. Strangely, I am not sad to leave Thailand for Thai food – I will find it elsewhere, my Job – I will find another, My friends – I will keep in contact. These unseen travelers, waiting and waiting for a new day – These are the people I feel that I am abandoning. I live too far to visit regularly, I am not free to help with English lessons, officially – I am ‘uninvolved’. I have visited, I have decorated, I have cried at their sides and I have smiled at startled and confused children. I care and I will continue to care when I find my new destination.

Refugees

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